Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun Teaching

My "Personal Journaling & Watercolor Sketching" Class is in full swing. In the Ashland Artisan Gallery on Main Street, seven students of very diversified skills and intent nestled into the cozy classroom and we warmed up with introductions etc.

The first three hour session was jam-packed with lots of information about beginning your journaling approach, supplies and various journals, basic techniques for drawing (line quality, value, volume) and, of course, homework assignments!

The following session was two hours and was a blend of painting/sketching, then some writing exercises. We began with an introduction to color, color wheel and color wheel theory. Here you can see the focused classmates watching their right-left brain sparking with an exercise. The writing exercises, hopefully, tailor down vocabulary and viewpoint to refine our thinking for journal writing.

Our third and final three hour class meets this Sunday. And a gracious gesture by one of the students has rescued us all from the confines of the Gallery's limited space (with 100 degree temperatures looming in the weather forecast) , to the spacious grounds of her home. It will furnish a comfortable, relaxed sharing for our ending class.

I'm off to polish up some final demonstrations and samples ... Happy creating!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Journal Play

In preparation for my upcoming "Personal Journaling & Watercolor Sketching" Class, I'm busy filling in any missing or unfinished images in my Journal. Yes, some of them go back a ways.

This was our second and apparently, final snow shoeing day, May 6th. We returned to our favorite spot, the Natural Bridges turnoff on Highway 62 north of Medford. There is still plenty of snow and when we first start out it's crusty. But by the time we've picnicked and romped along the river awhile, the sun has warmed and softened the snow. And of course, we ended the days frivolity with a piece of homemade berry pie from Becky's! I loved the idea of suggesting some mileage traveled by trotting Cody's footprints across the page in my illustration.

Then I needed to complete an image from the trip I took back down to my ole romping (seems to be alot of romping going on in the blog entry!) grounds, San Jose. Yes, I did have a wonderful visit with my dear, much missed friends and although, with some frustration, got some shopping done - but - when I got home the only sight that I wanted to remember as my favorite sight of the trip - was leaving the Bay Area! Sorry, San Jose, I'm no longer feeling like any part of me longs for a revisit.

One of the last images I decided to attempt - was a portrait of one of the political faces. I'm doing more and more portraits in my journal and am feeling more comfortable with the results. So here is the resulting Barack Obama portrait. I've painted other African American portraits and am always intrigued by the beautiful dark shadows and rich colors of the complexion. I choose not to use any blues or cool tones, which sometimes can look "like bruises". Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the portrait although I think his head is a bit broader. But we're working on practice and personal expression here - so hurrah - I've actually had friends say it DOES resemble the man. To me that is success!

So, I continue prep for my class and wish you all - happy creating!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Show Up & Trinity Alps

As I promised, here is a view of my "Florals" show at Liquid Assets in Ashland, Oregon. It will continue through June 26th - so drop by if you get a chance.

Now that Summer is nearly in full swing we just got back from our first "attempt" at a week long camping trip. We'd long planned it around Northern California in the Trinity Alps area and juggled schedules so we could have a full week there!

We arrived on schedule and perused many campsites to finally establish the one that "nearly" fit all our criteria. Just up from the Trinity Lake, we peered down onto the water - but because California is experiencing a drought - see how far down the water was. That fact did help keep the camping population down and we had the entire grounds to ourselves save for two other campers. The quiet was palpable and nature magnificent!

Waking the very first morning to the squawking of giant black crows reminded us we were no longer at home in our cozy Temperpedic! The night air had been invigorating and the precautions for bears tested our "civilized" habits. But the planned agenda of hiking and swimming was about to change.

Our Camp Hostess dropped by mid-morning, just about as we finished our hot tea, to tell us we miscalculated our camping fees (how could that be, math oriented as I am?!) and I went out to talk to her. Apparently our super watchdog, Cody thought he needed to protect "Mom" and flew out of the trailer door. In doing so, he caught and ripped two of his toenails in the slotted doorstep - and yelped in pain. He eventually started walking normal but, when we looked at his bleeding toes and nearly detached nails - we were off the find the Weaverville veterinarian rather than a morning sketching in my Journal.

The vet saw us quickly and took off Cody's two bent nails. After the procedure, he came out with his pink tongue dangling out one side, looking pitiful, and our hearts just ached. We were instructed to not hike and keep him out of the water. Oh my, the direction of our trip just took a change.

We investigated Weaverville and I joined the "Highland Art Center" there. The manager, Yvonne, was delightful and remembered a friend of mine who'd had her transition several years ago but had shown in that very gallery! I did take time to sketch in my journal while Cody and Roland rested in the adjoining park. And with Yvonne's suggestion, enjoyed a yummy dinner at the local "Gardener's Cafe".

Our next day was decided by Cody's ability to get around - we drove to Lewiston, just south of the lake and over the bridged river, to their "Peddler's Festival". The day was warm, breezy and the festival music provided animated entertainment. We bought a bent wooden rolling pin (for our homemade whole wheat pizza dough), sipped lemonade and, rested occasionally in the grassy area.

Just up the road, I discovered a home/gallery that advertised as "folk signage". I tentatively wandered onto the property where three houses existed. To welcome me was a fabricated "space ship" with a coiled snake atop greeting me. One of the houses was apparently the "gallery" where I meandered amongst antique clothing, beaded lamps, bold "Erta-like" portraits, and, my favorites, the paper mache' figures. I never did see the artist or mistress of the grounds - but savored her creativity! We'd thoroughly enjoyed the historic town with their energized booths of collectibles, memorable characters and fantastic creations.

Now, I'm home, preparing for my "Personal Journaling & Watercolor Sketching" Class starting June 22 at the Ashland Artisan Gallery & Art Center. If you're interested - there are about 1 or 2 openings for this fun, expansive experience. Contact me or the gallery at 541-488-5698. Til then - happy trails!!!